Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes, which helps maintain trails within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore reports: “We’ve got SNOW! Over the past couple of days, we got about 5″ of fresh powder over the whole region. The ground was still warm, so some of it melted — especially on the paved portion of the Heritage Trail. We do not plan to groom the trail this time. The Dune Climb did look pretty good for sledding though!”

“Are you sexually active?” The young woman asking does not look up from her note pad, writes Leelanau author Kathleen Stocking. I’m not sure in what capacity the questioner is asking.  Is this my doctor, a physician’s assistant, a nurse, an aide.  I am there for my eyes. The question catches me off-guard. I’m in a neck brace, walk with a walker, and part of my right leg is a prosthetic. I’m almost 80 years old, but look older.

“Every time I walked into Eddie’s Village Inn restaurant in Suttons Bay (currently the V.I. Grill), the black and white vintage photos on the walls created a time capsule effect,” writes Rebecca Carlson in part 11 of our Leelanau farming families series. “Eddie and Mary Lou (Walter) Rothgarber carefully curated this amazing collection that they shared with every guest who walked into their restaurant. As the tapestry of pictures narrated the story of Suttons Bay and the surrounding area, the restaurant served as a semi-historical museum.”

Join the Leelanau Historical Society and the Omena Historical Society on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the Suttons Bay High School Auditorium for “A Kchi Wiikwedong Anishinaabe History Project Summary: talking about the past for the present (and the future).” This free event is open to the public. The Kchi Wiikwedong Anishinaabe History Project was started in 2021 by Emily Modrall in an effort to bring greater visibility and awareness to the very long history of this region as an Anishinaabe homeland. Her presentation this evening summarizes this project and its outcomes as the project enters its final months.

An important question hovers over the Leelanau Conservancy’s push to build a 10-car parking lot east of Wheeler Road, which mountain bikers will use starting next year to access the expanding Palmer Woods trail network. Neighbors opposed the initiative, but the Cleveland Township Board sided with the Conservancy and greenlit the project on Nov. 14. Do mountain bike trails and infrastructure in preserved natural areas reflect development (most mountain bikers drive fossil fuel-burning cars to access trails)? Or does the sport increase environmental awareness? In other words, does mountain biking compromise or help the environment?

On Saturday, Nov. 25, Empire is making spirits bright this season by offering three locations to find handcrafted gifts from local artisans. The Empire Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the Artisan Marketplace featuring 20 artisans at the Empire Town Hall from 10 am-4 pm. In addition to the beautiful items available, customers will also be able to have a delicious snack or lunch prepared by local chefs, Mel and Fel.

The Northport Arts Association along with Willowbrook Mill will host their seventh annual Holiday Arts & Crafts Sale on Nov. 25 from 10 am-4 pm. The Holiday Arts & Crafts Sale started in 2017 in the Village Arts Building. In 2019, Mimi Heberlein offered space for artists at the Willowbrook Mill and the venue expanded to host more talented artists. That year, the Willowbrook Mill was decorated as Harry Potter’s Hogwarts and it was magical. The group looks forward to another magical holiday in the Village of Northport this year. Enjoy adult and kid versions of tasty gourmet hot chocolate and visit Santa at the Willowbrook Mill. Santa will take time from his busy season and arrive about 2 pm.

Following your family’s Thanksgiving turkey feast, visit Glen Arbor for weekend festivities, including the Pajama Party from 7-9 am on Friday, Nov. 24. The PJ Party is an annual tradition in the Glen Arbor business district, where you are invited to wear your pajamas and come out for special sales and offers with participating local merchants for a “Better than Black Friday” shopping experience. Among other holiday traditions in Glen Arbor, the fun and quirky Bed Parade returns on Friday from 9-9:30 am. On Friday evening, from 6:15-8 pm, celebrate the season with a community tree lighting and caroling at the Glen Arbor Township Hall, followed by shopping the opening of the Holiday Artisan Marketplace. Then on Saturday, Nov. 25, from 10 am-4 pm, shop a curated variety of local artisan goods during the 2023 Glen Arbor Holiday Marketplace. Santa Claus will visit on Saturday between 11 am and 1 pm.

It’s a tale as old as time: people visit the area, fall in love with it and retire here. But for Marc and Elizabeth Huntoon, retiring was actually the beginning of a new endeavor. Their Gilchrist Farm tasting room and restaurant opened Labor Day weekend, offering locals and visitors a new option for wine and engaging dishes. A true family affair, it also involves their daughters Laurel and Alyssa as well as Alyssa’s husband George. And while the tasting room opened Sept. 1, Gilchrist Farm actually dates to 2018, when the Huntoons bought 85 acres of land on South French Road. They began planting the next year, and purchased and planted 21 more acres over the next two years.

A special holiday tradition continues on Nov 18 with the Glen Lake Community Library’s annual call for children’s books. The Friends of the Glen Lake Library are once again collecting donations of new children’s books for children whose families need assistance this holiday season. Any family can find themselves in hard times, and the goal is to make sure the children still have some holiday joy in the form of a special book. The list is compiled from Glen Lake Elementary School, Parenting Communities, The Benodjenh Center, Leelanau Children’s Center and Family Daycare Homes and is available at the Glen Lake Library in Empire and at the Cottage Book Shop in Glen Arbor.